JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BURNET — The next Christian Women’s Job Corps of the Highland Lakes job readiness course begins Sept. 1.
The 12-week program trains women in résumè writing, job interviewing, sewing, the Bible, QuickBooks, computer skills and business etiquette at the faith-based organization’s facility, 108 S. Vanderveer St. The program is limited to 12 women. Orientation is Aug. 26.
“It offers women hope,” site coordinator Alice Wooten said. “Perhaps they’ve had a rough time. I think when they leave, it’s a turning point.”
Some of the program’s graduates now serve as volunteer instructors, while other teachers are retired professional women, illustrating how women strive to help each other.
“I think that’s part of our makeup as women,” Wooten said. “Not only does it make us feel good, it allows us to help another person. We still have that nurturing side to us to be able to help somebody.”
Wooten teaches business etiquette, which covers the obvious parts of a job such as communication with customers, fellow employees and managers and the proper business attire.
But this part of the program also helps women locate appropriate clothing for job interviews and gives them a start to owning a business wardrobe. Program organizers make arrangements to send their students to Hope’s Closet, 304 Industrial Blvd. in Burnet, which is a clothing ministry.
“A lady retires, and she doesn’t need her business clothing anymore,” Wooten said.
While the ability to communicate seems to be more common sense, the site coordinator said students are reminded that, oftentimes, they may be the first employee to whom a customer talks. So displaying a warm smile and a genuine interest in the customer every time they communicate helps set apart one business from another in the same industry.
Wooten said employees may become so used to giving information, they can rattle it off from the tops of their heads and give the customer a negative impression.
“One of the things we saw lacking was we had a lot of students who hadn’t been in the workforce in a while,” she said. “One of the things we focus on is you’re not only representing yourself, you’re representing a business.”
In the program, instructors and students are very accepting of each other.
“There’s no judging,” Wooten said. “We help them get through a rough situation. Some of them come very timid. Because of the nurturing, women coming here can help them.”
Officials know the program helps more than the students. Most of them have families, and the household needs the income.
“It’s like throwing a rock in the pond in seeing the ripple effect,” Wooten said. “It helps them, their children, their families. It helps them have a future.”
Go to cwjchl.org or call (512) 756-1484 for more information.